As the second day of talks on Kosovo wraps up in Austria's town of Baden, the chances of reaching any sort of compromise seem ever more distant. Serbia once again refused to let the province go and proposed autonomy instead, and Kosovo's Albanians pushed for full independence.
Both Serbs and ethnic Albanians are indeed holding firm to their positions.
Serbia is desperate not to lose a piece of is diminished territory. Often backed by Russia, it's trying to put up a robust diplomatic fight.
Many fear the Serbian government will impose a complete economic and travel blockade on Kosovo should it declare unilateral independence.
"It will react as each normal country in Europe would react if its territory would be in danger. So I can't tell you what concrete measures will be taken, because it comes to the discretion of state measures but of course it will and it would react," said Slobodan Samardzic, Serbian minister for Kosovo.
The Albanians of Kosovo are backed up by the United States.
The European Union is the compromise mediator, although it has made it clear that it supports the eventual independence of the province if the two sides can manage to agree.
The Kosovars are not ready to postpone a declaration of their independence, especially when it seems so close.
"We can discuss, we can have negotiations 100 years more, but we can have no compromise between Kosovo and Serbia for status. Kosovo will be a state and this process will continue through peace and stability. No more war, no more killing, no more crisis in the region," stated Hashim Thaci, Prime Minister-elect of Kosovo.
The bleak assessment from the international envoys overseeing the talks raises the likelihood that Kosovo will declare independence unilaterally at some point after December 10 - the deadline for a Troika report to be handed to the United Nations.
The Russian representative Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko says there's no chance of a breakthrough but nevertheless the talks must continue. He said that a unilateral declaration of independent Kosovo would clench the Balkans back into turmoil and set a dangerous precedent for separatist movements worldwide. ( RT )